A CNN report published Sunday details how a group of House Republicans are taking heat politically and financially for leading the coup that saw former Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ousted from the speakership in October.
The report noted that conservative Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Bob Good, R-Va., have “arguably received the most incoming fire,” as each politician faces “serious threats” to their primary reelection. CNN also reported that Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., who recently joined the Senate race in his state, is likewise being buffeted by certain Republican sentiment for his vote to boot McCarthy.
GOP sources close to the situation told CNN that an external Republican spending group and McCarthy himself have readied plans to be involved in the races against both representatives. Good came under fire for aligning himself with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis instead of former President Donald Trump, ahead of DeSantis’ official bid for the 2024 presidential race, which he has since dropped.
Two Washington D.C.-based center-right-leaning groups, the Main Street Caucus and Republican Governance Group, have let go of Mace, with one House Republican telling CNN, “She really wants to be a caucus of one. So we obliged her.”
Broader discontent with Mace has ostensibly been mounting for some time — it was recently reported by The Daily Beast that the entirety of Mace’s D.C. staff had turned over since November 1, 2023, alleging a “toxic” workplace and “abusive” behavior by the congresswoman.
At Trump’s Nevada caucuses watch party in Las Vegas, McCarthy told CNN, “If you’ve watched, just her philosophy and the flip-flopping, I don’t believe she wins reelection. I don’t think she’ll probably have earned the right to get reelected.”
As CNN noted, neither Mace nor Good seems particularly concerned about their declining popularity; likewise, neither has vocalized remorse for voting McCarthy out.
“I’m too busy working for the Lowcountry and helping elect President Trump to worry about Kevin McCarthy’s puppet,” Mace said, speaking about one of her primary opponents. “The D.C. swamp doesn’t want me back — too bad. I don’t work for them, I work for the people of the 1st Congressional District and no one else.”
Speaking about his own primary opponent, Good did not seem phased by the notion that his vote on McCarthy could potentially jeopardize his reelection. “I think he should bring McCarthy to campaign for him down in the district,” Good said.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., also told CNN that some “very wealthy folks” had decided to stop funding him after he voted against McCarthy, after initially “catching grief” for backing him in January 2023.
“They’ve been very kind to me in the past, and I hope that we can mend the fences,” Burchett said. “I can get them back in the fold. But if I don’t, I’m still friends with them. I’m not vindictive.” Speaking about the potential for facing blowback from McCarthy come the August primary, Burchett said, “He’s got to do something with that $17 million he has, so it’ll be eight of us that probably feel the brunt of that. I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew I’d get opposition because of it. I still think it’s the right thing to do.”
CNN’s report added how the group of eight House GOPers have effectively become “persona non grata” on Capitol Hill, describing how they’ve united in solidarity to defend each other against continued criticism. Conservative Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told CNN that he knew the decision to oust McCarthy “a risk,” adding: “But I’m gonna be doing everything I can to help Bob and Nancy. You know, Nancy and I don’t agree a lot. But we do agree on other issues. And I think she tries to represent her constituents.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who spearheaded the “Gaetz Eight’s” coup, told CNN that “McCarthy couldn’t beat us in Washington, DC, on his home turf, where he has all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. He thinks he’s going to beat us on away games?”
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McCarthy’s allies have meanwhile been quietly scheming strong primary opponents to challenge the group, with Politico and sources close to the situation reporting that Republican political consultant Brian Walsh has headed the charge. Though McCarthy is not currently in direct cahoots with his allies, CNN reported that a number of GOPers anticipate that he will use his abundance of financial resources to target Mace and Good.
“If I’m those folks, one of the things that would scare the crap out of me more than anything else is an unhinged McCarthy,” one Republican lawmaker told the outlet. “The guy’s the most prolific fundraiser, you’ve got a massive group of donors across the country that are pissed off about what’s happening, and you’ve got these boneheads that have caused it.”
However, as CNN noted, current House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has thus far exhibited no signs of wavering support for the Gaetz Eight, and plans to donate to Rep. Rosendale’s Senate campaign.
“The speaker has committed to sending a contribution to Congressman Rosendale, as he has for other House colleagues and friends, but he has not made any endorsements in Senate races,” said Greg Steele, the communications director for Johnson’s political team. A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, which CNN observed has a policy of safeguarding the conference’s members, said, “We are an incumbent-driven organization and support all House Republican incumbents call.”